The Da Vinci Code (2006)
Director: Ron Howard.
Starring: Tom Hanks (Robert Langdon), Audrey Tautou (Sophie Neveu), Ian McKellen (Sir Leigh Teabing), Jean Reno (Captain Fache), Paul Bettany (Silas), Alfred Molina (Bishop Aringarosa), Jürgen Prochnow (André Vernet), Jean-Yves Berteloot (Remy Jean), Etienne Chicot (Lt. Collet), Jean-Pierre Marielle (Jacques Sauniere), Marie-Françoise Audollent (Sister Sandrine), Rita Davies (Elegant Woman at Rosslyn), Francesco Carnelutti (Prefect), Seth Gabel (Michael), Shane Zaza (Youth on Bus).
The Catholic church fights and murders to prevent the world from knowing that Jesus was mortal and had actually married Mary Magdalene.
In an art museum in France, a man is found murdered near the paintings of the famous Italian painter, Leonardo Da Vinci. The body has a number of mysterious religious symbols etched into his body. A Harvard professor of religious symbolism (Tom Hanks) is dragged into the mystery because of his knowledge of religious symbols and soon becomes a suspect in the murder.
As Hanks tries to free himself of suspicion, he discovers a much wider and longer conspiracy. In fact, he has stumbled on a lie that went to the very heart of Christianity. He discovers that Mary Magdalene was not only a disciple of Jesus, but had married him and given him children. Since its very founding, the Catholic church has tried to hide the marriage and the existence of offspring, even going so far as to murder anyone who knew the real truth, which includes the knowledge that Jesus was a great prophet, but never divine. (Now why the church would think that such knowledge would absolutely disprove the divinity of Jesus is not considered. We just have to go along with the premise.)
There is a group within the church that for centuries has been fighting a civil war with those trying to protect the "secret" and the offspring of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. And the war continues to current times.
Of course, it takes a long time for Hanks and the audience to figure out all this and there in lies the enjoyment. I found it to be a little confusing at times, but I got the general idea. Hey, it's not a great movie, but it is a pretty good mystery.
And it is controversial . Has there been another big Hollywood movie that so completely questions the divinity of Jesus "Christ"? I don't think so. The controversy goes beyond mere criticism of the lies and misdeeds of the Catholic church, which are legendary and well-known, but continues to imply that the whole Christian faith is found on a basic lie: Jesus is not divine. (After all, Jesus was not at first seen by the early Christians as divine. That took awhile.)
I have heard some real political conservatives, like Catholic, Fox-TV commentator Bill O'Reilly, question the concern of the Catholic church and others about the movie. I think, however, they underestimate the historical importance of the movie. An important Hollywood film with an important Hollywood director and a well-known American actor that "dares" to proclaim the illegitimacy of Catholicism and the Christian faith in general.
The other problem for Christianity presented by the movie is that we know at least part of the basis for the movie is true. Mary Magdalene was not a prostitute at all, but rather a disciple of Jesus. Around 591 A.D., the reputation of Mary Magdalene was deliberately besmirched by the male Christian hierarchy to make sure that women were excluded from the top positions in the faith. Given that Catholicism deliberately lied about Mary Magdalene, it is not such a far-fetched thought that perhaps the Christians lied about many other things concerning their religion.
Scientifically, of course, it is impossible for a human being to be "divine". All living things ultimately die and none of them return to life once dead. And, certainly, no living creature is divine. In fact, the weakest part of Christianity is the belief in the divinity of Christ. It's a shame that the real Jesus was not good enough for the Christians. (And, after all, it's tough for sinful human beings to live up to the wonderful message of the Sermon on the Mount. Men who want to be top dog do not use the Sermon on the Mount as a guide. The father of the American civil rights movement, the Rev. Vernon Johns, said that it's not so much that the Christians have ignored the Sermon on the Mount, but that they just let it slide.)
The real Jesus is better than the "divine" Jesus. The message of the Sermon on the Mount is superior to the messages of the Christian churches, corrupted as they were by establishing religious orthodoxies.)
I believe in God. I just wished other people did. Their religions are primarily a worship of their own selfish selves and their societies. Their religions are too soft on human beings and their human membership. (What audacity to declare that humans were made in God's image! Now that is sacrilege if there ever was one.) God is way beyond all those false gods that men worship: money, fame, power and their representatives, such as nationalism, racism, ethnicism and religious intolerance.
Christianity had something in the real Jesus. But they had to screw it up in order to compromise with the sins of man.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
P.S. Watching all this recent historical emphasis on various Christian secret societies makes me laugh. One does not need to turn to secret societies to understand the corruption of Christianity. It is all there in front of the historian and all the great leaders of the church and the Christians nations were involved in the corruption. But Americans and others love these conspiracy theories. They are not necessary. We have met the conspirators and they are us, including our "greatest" leaders.
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